Internet Matters has urged parents to talk to their kids about their digital life as often as they do their school work.

Their message comes after a study found one in sex (16%) never or only rarely talk to their children about internet safety issues.

Research from 2,000 UK parents has found some children as young as four are experiencing online harm, with many issues worsening as they get older.

Around six out of 10 parents admit they are concerned about issues including online grooming (58%), viewing sexual or violent content (58%) and spending too much time online (68%).

But despite this, only a third of those parents have had any kind of conversation with their families about it in the last six months.

And the majority of parents (55%) admit they speak to their children less than once a month about the most concerning issues they face on the internet.

So to help more parents communicate with their children about online safety, Internet Matters has updated age-appropriate guidance.

They include everything from managing screen time, setting boundaries and dealing with online issues such as cyberbullying and inappropriate content, to guidance on age-appropriate digital activities.

These handy resources show children are never too young or too old to have a conversation about their digital worlds.

Child psychologist and Internet Matters ambassador, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, said: “Many parents find navigating conversations about online safety with their kids challenging – especially as they enter adolescence.

“We know this is the age where they start to get more autonomy in their lives and for some it’s when they get their own connected devices. However, this is also the age where they are most at risk from issues around online bullying, pornography and body image.

“That’s why it’s important online safety conversations are not a one-off – parents should get in the habit of discussing what goes on in their digital life with them just like they would their school life.

"This way they will have an open dialogue with their kids so they can establish positive behaviour and kids will feel empowered to come and speak with them if something goes wrong.”

Carolyn Bunting, Internet Matters CEO, added: “The research shows that whilst parents are concerned about online safety issues they aren’t all having regular conversations with their child about it.

“These conversations don’t always have to be serious or heavy – they can just as easily be had in regular conversations at the dinner table. Being a part of their online life just how you would in their day-to-day life is important.

“Some parents feel they lack knowledge about their kids' digital world and that’s why we’re pleased to be able to offer help and support through our updated age-appropriate resources.

"The new tools will give parents a good idea of what their child may be doing online at what age so they know how to open up the right conversations with them at the right time.”

For more information on how to keep your child safe online and to visit the update age guides head to www.internetmatters.org/advice.

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